The UCSB women’s water polo team closes out its regular season this weekend with two tough matches before it heads to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament next week.
#4 Long Beach State heads to Santa Barbara today to face the Gauchos at 4 p.m. at Campus Pool, and then UCSB travels to top-ranked UCLA on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Five seniors end their Gaucho careers today and will be honored before the match. Drivers Laura Anderson, Jessica Fay and Megan Ricks, and two-meters Teresa Gorbett and Erin Lezak will play their final home match.
“It’s exciting because I’ll be moving on to bigger and better things,” Gorbett said. “But it’s also sad because I’m going to miss this school.”
Gorbett and Lezak lead the UCSB offensive attack this year with 40 and 35 goals, respectively. Both girls rank in the top 15 for goal-scoring in the MPSF. Gorbett is third all-time in scoring for the Gauchos with 105 goals in her career, and Lezak ranks fifth with 98.
Long Beach State enters the match as one of the hottest teams in the country, with only one loss in its last 12 matches. The 49ers set a new school record for conference wins with their seventh MPSF win of the season Wednesday in an 8-2 victory over Irvine. LBSU has also set school records for wins in a season (22) and home wins (11). Sophomore utility Roberta Stewart leads the team in goals with 44, including three against Irvine. Sophomore two-meter Drue Wawrzynski and junior driver Angelica Garcia both have 36 goals on the year, and both tallied goals on Wednesday.
“We haven’t played Long Beach this year, but traditionally we play them well,” Gorbett said. “We’re going to have to play good defense and definitely be more aggressive on offense.”
UCLA (18-3, 7-2 in the MPSF) is currently on a 14-game win streak, including an exhibition win over the U.S. national team 3-2 last Saturday. Junior forward Natalie Golda spearheads the Bruin offense with 41 goals on the year. Five other Bruins have tallied 15 or more goals on the year. UCLA will say goodbye to six of its seniors as they play their final home game Saturday.
The Gauchos travel to Stanford next weekend for the MPSF tournament. UCSB sits in ninth place heading into the weekend but could improve to as high as fifth if the cards play out right. Regardless, today will be the last home game for the five Santa Barbara seniors.
“It’s been really fun, and I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been here,” Gorbett said. “Hopefully when I come back as an alumna we’ll have a new pool if this thing gets passed, but I’ve had a lot of memories at Campus Pool, and I’ll remember those.”